Local, federal investigations into gym mat death continue

Willie Grace | 12/29/2014, 12:33 p.m. | Updated on 12/29/2014, 12:33 p.m.
The parents of Kendrick Johnson, who was found dead inside a rolled-up gym mat at his school in Valdosta, Georgia, ...
Federal authorities also reviewed evidence being stored as part of the case and were given copies of three discs with audio recordings of calls for service made the day Johnson's body was found and two discs with video surveillance.

(CNN) -- Despite concluding there was no foul play in the death of a Georgia teen nearly two years ago, a sheriff's office conducted additional interviews on the case as recently as this month.

The parents of Kendrick Johnson, who was found dead inside a rolled-up gym mat at his school in Valdosta, Georgia, have been unwavering in their belief that their son was murdered, even after the Lowndes County Sheriff's Office ruled the death accidental and closed the case 18 months ago.

The details of the recent interviews, conducted by the sheriff's office between November 24 and December 15, were provided to CNN in response to a public records request.

The sheriff's office interviewed about two dozen current and former Lowndes High School students who were on the school's wrestling team on January 10, 2013, the day Johnson disappeared. His body was found the next day.

The additional interviews appear to be related to a video released by attorneys for Johnson's family that challenged the whereabouts of one particular former student who was on the wrestling team.

According to investigative records, the former student confronted Johnson and told him "it ain't over" regarding a confrontation Johnson had with the former student's younger brother.

CNN is not naming the former student because he has not been called a suspect or been charged with a crime.

The former student would have been at a wrestling match in another city at the time Johnson is believed to have died, but lawyers say the bus did not leave Lowndes High School until after Johnson's death.

An attorney for the sheriff's office confirmed the recent interviews, but did not respond to a question about whether the case has been reopened.

"The Lowndes County Sheriff's Office initiated the interviews of the Lowndes High School wrestling team coach, the bus driver and wrestling team members in response to claims made known to the sheriff's office that the wrestling team was still on the school's campus when Kendrick Johnson was last known to have been alive," according to a statement provided by the department's attorney. "Investigators have tried unsuccessfully to contact some wrestling team members and will continue to attempt to reach those team members."

The statement added that the interviews so far have not changed the facts believed by the sheriff's office.

"The information gathered thus far indicates that the bus carrying the wrestling team had left the school's campus prior to the time that Kendrick Johnson was last known to have been alive," it said.

Several of those interviewed said the former student was on a school bus en route to a state tournament in Macon, Georgia, the day Johnson disappeared. Others could not say for sure.

However, there are inconsistent accounts about when the bus left the school.

Some of the current and former students told investigators the team left campus before 10 a.m. Other students said the team left just before noon. The bus driver told investigators the team left at 12:30 p.m., according to incident reports.